Travel health and vaccinations
If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation. You’ll have to consider:
- your destination
- how long you'll stay
- what you’ll be doing
- your general health
Travel outside the UK has been severely disrupted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to booking any travel, you must consider:
- whether travel to your intended destination is recommended by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
- whether the country you want to visit is accepting UK nationals
- your risk of exposure to coronavirus at your destination
- any requirements to self-isolate (quarantine) on return from your destination
Further information on travel and coronavirus, including country-specific advice is available on the fitfortravel website.
More about testing and overseas travel
Travel risk assessment
A pre-travel risk assessment provides a good opportunity to discuss travel-associated risk management with your GP, practice nurse or private healthcare provider.
You'll need to contact your GP practice to arrange this, ideally 6 to 8 weeks before you leave. If your trip is sooner, contact them anyway. They may still be able to help and provide you with useful advice about how to protect your health when travelling.
During the assessment, your GP or practice nurse will:
- confirm if you're up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- assess your particular health risks
- recommend any vaccines and/or anti-malarial tablets you may need
Alternatively, you can visit a private travel vaccination clinic for your UK boosters and other travel vaccinations.
Travelling abroad to visit friends and relatives
If you're travelling abroad to visit friends or relatives, you might be at higher risk of developing travel-related illnesses such as typhoid or malaria. This could be because:
- you may be living with the local community
- your trip might be longer than the average holiday
- you might be visiting more rural areas where it can be difficult to take sufficient preventative precautions
The fitfortravel website provides:
- information for every country on staying healthy during travel, vaccine requirements and need for antimalarial tablets
- information and advice on visiting friends and relatives abroad
The following travel vaccinations are free on the NHS in Scotland:
- diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined booster)
- hepatitis A
You'll likely to have to pay for vaccinations against:
- yellow fever
- Japanese encephalitis
- tick-borne encephalitis
Additionally, you might have to pay for the following vaccinations if they're only required for travel purposes:
- hepatitis B
- tuberculosis (TB)
Proof of vaccination
Some countries require you to have proof of particular vaccinations before they allow entry:
- COVID-19 vaccine
- Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres.
Find clinics in Scotland that offer yellow fever vaccinations
Travel health advice
Many of the health risks experienced by travellers can't be prevented by vaccinations or anti-malarial tablets and other preventive measures should be taken.
The fitfortravel website provides health information for people travelling abroad from the UK, including:
- destination-specific advice for vaccinations and malaria - including maps of malaria affected regions
- food and water precautions
- accident prevention
- insect bite avoidance
- child travellers
- pregnant travellers
- immunocompromised travellers
- travel insurance
Travelling with medications
If you intend on travelling with medication (including over-the-counter medications) check for any restrictions on medications before you travel. You can do this by contacting the embassy of the country you're visiting.
You can find further information and advice on travelling with medications on the fitfortravel website.
When you return home
It is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible if you become unwell and/or develop a high temperature (fever) once you return home, even if it's up to one month after travel.
Always make sure you tell the health professional that you have recently travelled abroad, especially if you have been to a country where malaria is a risk.
Travel safety advice
You can find country-specific safety and security advice through the GOV.UK website.